The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at msmith@ithacavoice.com.

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ITHACA, NY – This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca & Tompkins County is participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.

Today, in Ithaca, we are especially in need of men who are willing to volunteer their time as a mentor, as about 80% of our waitlist is made up of boys.

There is a powerful mentoring effect demonstrated by research and the experiences of young people who are connected to a mentor in real life. Mentoring is linked to improved academic, social and economic prospects for young people, and that ultimately strengthens our community.

Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities. For example, in a recent national report titled The Mentoring Effect, young people who were at-risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. They were also:

• 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
• 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
• More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

This same report found that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor. We’re hoping to help turn that number around! Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and mentors frequently report back that their mentees have a positive effect on them as well!

Some important dates for this public awareness campaign include:
January 14, 2016: “I Am a Mentor Day,” when volunteers across our community and the country will
share their stories about being a mentor on social media using #MentorIRL.
January 18, 2016: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when our nation will shine a spotlight on
volunteerism and inspire people seeking service opportunities to learn more about mentoring.
January 21, 2016: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say
thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #MentorIRL.

National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with support from the Highland Street Foundation. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the president and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell and Usher.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit
www.bbbsithaca.org  or contact Molly Bargar at 273-8364 ext. 156

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.